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Keeping your balance....financially!

I was recently finalising and reviewing the annual accounts and tax return for our self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) and I wondered whether all retirees are equally aware of their investment portfolio performance over time and their current financial position.

We did say at the outset that we are not financial planners and would not offer financial advice (See our PLANNING page) BUT no matter whether your retirement funds are part of a larger funds management pool or whether you leave your portfolio and its investment decisions in the hands of a trusted financial adviser, I still think we should all spend at least a little time periodically to satisfy ourselves the "nest-egg" we all expect to rely on in the future, is on track. The key questions are:- is the investment strategy correct, is the investment portfolio performing optimally and most importantly, what is it's projectory ( long will it last, given expected investment growth and performance returns and of course our rate of spending)?

Despite my financial background, as a retired person I nevertheless rely on the services of both a trusted expert financial planner and a professional tax accountant to advise and guide us both on the portfolio investments in, and the compliance aspects of, our retirement fund. This is done to ensure that we have the latest and best financial information available to us but most importantly, that if anything happens to me, She, as my life partner, joint trustee and joint beneficiary of our SMSF "nest-egg", has the assurance and comfort that her retirement asset and benefits will continue in good care as normal.

My trusted friend and financial advisor, Rob MacLean of Equitas Wealth in Sydney regularly updates his clientele on a range of subjects and events, usually prefaced by an email, and he has kindly consented for us to share this invaluable knowledge with our readership of RetirementLife.

So I encourage you to visit the Equitas Partners to enjoy Rob's easy-to-read articles and expert advice - I particularly recommend his latest post, PREVIEW 2013 dated 11th February 2013 where Rob give his views on market valuation (relative to the tops and bottoms of markets) and describes the current Australian share-market position as entering a phase of "fair value" where the market is "well-priced".

So back to individual portfolios - our SMSF portfolio is in a consolidated "wrap" situation with a major investment institution and, in conjunction with Rob MacLean, we have access to a very large number of managed funds, ASX listed securities, term deposits etc in one secure online account. I access our fund daily online to monitor its overall portfolio valuation as it shifts with the ever-changing markets and through regular strategic discussion with Rob, we make decisions regarding various stocks and managed fund investments. I then write up the annual accounts of the Fund on an accounting software package which gives me intimate knowledge of the fund's performance and allows me to give our external accountant a full set of management accounts for compliance purposes each year. Ultimately, we sign off on the finalised accounts as Trustees once audited.

Sounds like lot of work but actually it's not - a bit of extra effort annually around tax time - and we have full and proper knowledge of our "nest-egg". It will be different for everyone but remember you are responsible for your own "financial" health!

So take a moment for a "financial" check up - it's worth it in the long run.

...and remember...have a fabulous retirementLIFE....

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